DeltaARTS partners with Marion teachers for VPA Magnet launch

DeltaARTS partners with Marion teachers for VPA Magnet launch

Faculty from the Marion Visual & Performing Arts (VPA) Magnet School danced, sang, and planned arts-integrated lessons earlier this month during a full day of professional development led by DeltaARTS

By Kelly Pouncey

DeltaARTS As part of their contracted partnership with the Marion VPA School, DeltaARTS provides professional development and arts-integrated curriculum development, as well as selection and coordination of focus works of art, visiting performance groups and teaching artists, artsrelated field trips, and classroom resources.

Although half of the faculty began their training in June at the 2018 DeltaARTS Aesthetic Education Workshop, August 8th marked the first full day of DeltaARTS-led professional development for all of the instructors for the school year.

The day began at the VPA school, where Teaching Artists modeled aesthetic education experiences for the teachers, making pedagogical connections to some of the upcoming year’s focus works of art.

The faculty then traveled by bus to Front Street in Memphis to view an art installation by local artist Greely Myatt, then continued on to the Tin Roof on Beale Street for lunch with the artist and a live performance by Teaching Artist Kenneth Jackson.

After the performance, teachers were grouped by their grade level or content areas to collaborate on planning arts-integrated lessons for the year.

“We were so lucky that the very accomodating VPA administrators allowed us to take our training across the bridge,” said Alex Smith, DeltaARTS Artistic Director. “One of the key elements of aesthetic education (our main arts integration philosophy) is ‘contextual research,’ and to put the blues in proper context, you just have to go to Beale Street! There is no substitute for seeing a work of art live and inperson, and it makes the study of art so much more authentic!”

Jackson’s and Myatt’s works will be studied in the classrooms through planned residencies with Teaching Artist in the fall and spring semesters, respectively. Teachers will receive additional training throughout the year.

DeltaARTS will be working with the classroom teachers and Marion VPA arts specialists (music, theatre, art teachers) to coordinate culminating events that connect with all the works of art the students studied throughout the year including “The Boy Who Fell from the Sky” by Voices of the South, The Memphis Cigar Box Guitar Band,” Nut Remix” by New Ballet Ensemble, and the works of Carroll Cloar, the renowned visual artist from Earle, Arkansas.

DeltaARTS is a nonprofit arts education agency in West Memphis that provides imaginative learning opportunities for the Delta region. For more information about DeltaARTS programs and events, please visit, or call 870-732-6260.

Ahead of their first day at the new Visual & Performing Arts (VPA) Magnet School in Marion, teachers from the school flexed their creative muscles as they danced and sang in preparation fot their arts-centric lesson plans at DeltaARTS.

Photo courtesy of DeltaARTS